Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert

Bump and Grind Trail Vista awaits 110 stories above Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage

Great views and an invigorating workout await on the Bump and Grind Trail in the Palm Desert-Rancho Mirage area.

A 4 mile loop and spur, the route actually combines three trails – the Mike Schuler, the Hopalong Cassidy and the Mirage. It is located within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

To reach the trailhead, from California Hwy. 111 in Palm Desert, turn west on Fred Waring Drive. Go left/south on Painters Path. The trailhead is about 100 yards to the right/west. Park along the street. The trailhead is in Palm Desert, but most of the hike is within the city limits of Rancho Mirage.

The foothills along the Bump and Grind Trail glow with color at sunrise and sunset.

At the trailhead, you can take one of two directions. Use the Mike Schuler Trail, which heads right/north and connects to the Bump and Grind. You will start to gain elevation quickly, as the trail is steep. The views from Palm Desert – and later Rancho Mirage – are quite striking. Some hikers tackle the trail for a night hike to see the grid of lights below.

After ascending the side of a small buttress, the trail heads west along its hilly point. This offers a nice view of the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south. The Little San Bernardino Mountains and Indio Hills are to the north.

There isn’t a lot of wildlife or interesting flora on this part of the trail. You will see a lot of people, however, as it is a popular route.

From the top of the hill, the trail drops steeply – it’s an average 9 degree incline – and crosses three washes. From there it climbs the side of a buttress.

At 1 km, you arrive at the top. There, the Mike Schuler junctions with the Mirage Trail, which heads left/west, and the Desert Drive Trail, which heads right/east.

Heading towards the Mirage Trail, go left/west on it. You will follow a ridge line that rises above the path you have traveled so far. From this segment of the trail you can get a good view of the Porcupine Creek Golf Club in the cove to the right.

At 2 miles the trail reaches a gate. A spur leads there to a summit which is half a mile away.

The trail to the summit passes through an important lambing area for the peninsula sheep. For this reason, foot traffic to the summit is prohibited from February 1 to April 30. You can still hike the rest of the trail all year round. If you cut the trail to the top, the hike becomes a 3 mile loop.

Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert

Part of the Bump and Grind trail closes in the spring to help protect bighorn sheep.

About 950 bighorn sheep live in the mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley. They blend in well enough with the tawny landscape, but their size gives them away when they move. Mature rams can weigh between 150 and 200 pounds – as much as an adult male – and ewes typically weigh between 100 and 125 pounds. The horns of the adult ram sometimes reach 30 inches in length each and at the base 15 inches in circumference.

Bighorn can often be seen feeding on acacia, encelia, krameria and sweetbush, but they will adapt their diet to what is available. In fact, south of the Coachella Valley, some bighorn sheep have migrated to golf courses where they graze the greens and drink from the waterholes.

Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert

The top of the Bump and Grind Trail offers stunning views of Palm Desert.

The summit sits at 1,280 feet, which is 110 full stories over Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. This offers great views of Mount San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio – the latter being the highest point in Southern California – to the northwest.

Going south from the gate, you will descend the ridge and side of the foothills, eventually reaching the Hopalong Cassidy Trail. Take a left and return to the trailhead and your vehicle. The last 1/4 mile can be moderately strenuous – even if you’re descending, maintaining your footing on such a steep incline requires some effort.

Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert

Bump and Grind Trail topographic map.

Although you can time the hike so you walk in the shade of the mountain range, most of the day the trail is open to the sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a sun hat. Always have plenty of water on this trail. If you are hiking at night, bring a flashlight.

Image Sources

  • 02-The-foothills-along-the-Bump-and-Grind-Trail-glow-in-color-at-sunrise-and-sunset: Rob Bignell
  • 03-Bump-and-Grind-Part-of-the-Trail: Rob Bignell
  • 04-The-summit-on-the-Bump-and-Grind-Trail-offers-great-views-over-Palm-Desert: Rob Bignell
  • 05-Bump-and-Grind-Trail-topo-map: Rob Bignell
  • Bump-and-Grind-800×568-1: Rob Bignell

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